As a business owner, you’re likely in constant preparation mode. Having an online crisis plan in place is a necessity, according to MarxLayne.com. When dealing with a disrupting event that spreads online, organizations should consider the following fundamental guidelines:
1. Actively listen for "brand" mentions
If you want to mitigate trouble online, you must be alert to what is being said about your organization. Are online conversations taking place about your "brand?" If so, are they positive or negative?
2. Monitor your social spaces constantly
It's critical to constantly monitor what people are commenting and sharing. To help expedite, numerous social medial listening tools — like Google Analytics, Social Mention, Hootsuite, Tweetdeck, and Topsy — can identify trends.
3. Have a consisten presence
Nothing looks worse than an organization that never communicates except when absolutely forced to do so. An active and steady presence on the social pages you own will help you be better prepared for a potential crisis.
4. Respond swiftly
This is perhaps one of the most important ways to avoid a crisis. Just like with the news media, even if you don't have an immediate answer, just letting people know you are listening and care about what's going on will help soften stressful situations.
5. Include your communications and legal teams
Being prepared for an online crisis means establishing a protocol in advance that includes not only your social/online specialists, but also your PR and legal teams. Concise messaging that is consistent with the organization's policies and positions is essential to any crisis strategy.
6. Have a plan of action
Make certain you have a detailed plan on how you will execute if an online crisis occurs, including:
- Establishing the crisis team. In addition to your online, PR and legal teams, think about who else needs to be included. Consider every area of your organization.
- Knowing the chain of command in a crisis. What should the approval process look like? Who should be responsible for what? And what does the timeline look like?
- Brainstorming potential scenarios. In any organization, there are dozens — if not more — of potential situations that could develop into a crisis. Work with your team to identify these scenarios and develop a "response template.
Published with permission from RISMedia.